Burlington, VT City Hall

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resolution

I am extremely pleased and honored to be able to introduce a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Resolution at tonight’s City Council meeting. Please find resolution linked below.

https://go.boarddocs.com/vt/burlingtonvt/Board.nsf/files/BDYN795E8374/$file/City%20Council%20%E2%80%93%20Racial%20Equity%2C%20Diversity%20and%20Inclusion.pdf

Burlington prides itself on being a welcoming and inclusive community. As the largest and most diverse city in the State of Vermont, we have the opportunity to be leaders in highlighting the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion, not just through our words but through our actions.

This resolution is an important step in this direction. It creates a senior position in city government to guide and support city leaders and departments in becoming more diverse, equitable and inclusive internally, and across all that we do in Burlington. It also creates a committee of the city council focused on diversity, equity and inclusion, a committee that will be tasked with exploring the idea of a standing commission on these critical issues.

Our city, no doubt, faces many challenges, but we have learned that the diversity of our community is one of our greatest strengths. We cannot take this diversity for granted. We must work diligently to ensure that everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender, gender identity, age, ability or country of origin, is fully included in the fabric of our community life, and this must be done with great intention and focus.

This resolution begins to develop that focus through the creation of the new position and the new committee.

Thank you to Mayor Weinberger, fellow city councilors, Mark Hughes, Stephanie Seguino, Rachel Siegel, Shay Totten and community members who worked collaboratively with me to draft and finalize this resolution. I am grateful for all the contributions and look forward to continuing to work with you going forward to make progress on these goals. It is an honor to serve our Burlington neighbors as we strive to live up to our ideals of justice and equity in Burlington and beyond

Blurry Christmas Lights

I wish you all Happy Holidays

I hope that this message finds you well, and I wish you all Happy Holidays. I am very thankful to live, work and raise my family in Burlington, especially in the New North End, a truly welcoming neighborhood. Thank you to everyone who voted on election day and to the over 8,300 neighbors  across the city who voted for me as Justice of the Peace. Congratulations to our Neighborhood State Representatives Carol Ode and Bob Hooper for winning their elections bids as our state representatives.

New Year’s Eve Celebration: “HIGHLIGHT”

For 35 years ‘First Night Burlington’ was Vermont’s largest single-day Festival of the Arts and a holiday celebration for the whole family. Burlington City Arts has taken over the coordination of this year’s New Year’s Eve celebration, now called ‘Highlight.’ Despite limited funding and planning time, Highlight will provide community focused experiences (performances, activities, church street parade, fireworks, etc.) This year the celebration will include a giant bonfire on the Waterfront and one fireworks display at 8:00pm. For more information, visit http://highlight.community.

Permit Reform / CEDO Reorganization

The city administration is proposing the creation of a new Permitting and Inspections Department to address the longstanding concerns about the city’s permit system. The proposition received full support from the council and has been referred to the Charter Change Committee to work on drafting charter language for a December 17th council vote. There will be a public hearing on this issue; it has not yet been scheduled. The administration has also proposed a CEDO reorganization, incorporating the Planning Commission. This raised some questions from the council and did not have as much support, so there was a special council meeting on December 3rd to further explore the reorganization idea.

Downtown Improvement District (DID)

The council, alongside the Church Street Marketplace and Burlington Business Association, hired a consultant to review and make recommendations around best practices for downtown improvements. The DID will provide enhanced services that address our downtown’s most pressing challenges and opportunities, including public safety and cleanliness, mobility, economic vitality, parking management, marketing and more. I will provide detailed updates on my website: >www.alidieng.com about DID in the near future.

Business Personal Property Tax (BPPT)

The State of Vermont permits towns and municipalities to tax business personal property. The cities of Burlington and Winooski are the only municipalities in Chittenden County currently imposing a tax on personal property with personal property (business equipments, furnitures etc.) assets estimated at $45,000 or more. The City of Burlington collects over $1.2 million in revenue yearly from this tax. The City anticipates eliminating this Business Personal Property Tax starting in 2026 while exploring how revenue from the Personal Property Tax might be replaced, and if there are alternative more equitable means of assessing the business personal property tax. City leaders are committed to business growth and fostering a climate and tax structure that encourages growth in a responsible manner. Small businesses are the backbone of Vermont’s economic vitality. Supporting them in our city is supporting the economic growth of our community and state.

 

I welcome your thoughts on the above initiatives or any other city issues. Please reach out to me anytime at adieng@burlingtonvt.gov.

 

May you and yours enjoy a peaceful holiday season,

Ali

Front Porch Forum

Front Porch Forum: 2018-10-09

Dear Neighbors,

Happy Fall! I hope everyone is enjoying the beauty of Vermont’s fall season. There is so much happing in the city and particularly in the New North End. I wanted to share a few updates.

Please join me in congratulating Darren Springer, for his nomination to lead Burlington Electric Department as General Manager. Darren is currently working as the Chief Operation Officer and Manager for Strategy and Innovation at Burlington Electric Department. He is an active member of the community, residing in the New North End with his family. The council anticipates confirming his appointment on Monday, October 15th.

Alongside other New American leaders, we held a Town Hall meeting with Senator Sanders at the Old North End Community Center (20 Allen St.) in September to empower people to vote and encourage civic engagement. The Town Hall was a great success with nearly 250 people in attendance. If you have not yet visited the ONE Community Center, I encourage you to check out this great community space, newly renovated and hosting programs of all kinds.

On September 24th, the City Council voted to put a $70 million bond for BHS renovations on the November ballot; a $30 million bond for water and sewage infrastructure updates was added. I have received many requests from my constituents to vote in agreement with the BHS Renovation ballot item. All shared concerns about the current BHS building’s accessibility, safety and learning environment. Most importantly, this would be an investment in the community. The BHS renovation plan was developed through five years of re-envisioning and was well vetted across the city through the hard work of the school board, Council and community volunteers.

I believe that we must find a solution to prevent sewage from spilling into Lake Champlain, but at the meeting, I articulated my disagreement with adding the $30 million utility bond on the ballot item in November for the following reasons:

  • We already pay for water/sewage directly and indirectly via city taxes and household water bills.
  • Unlike the $70 million bond for BHS which guarantees a safer and more accessible building, the $30 million utility bond provides no guarantee against future sewage leaks into Lake Champlain.
  • There should be a robust community conversation about any significant investment like this before putting it on the ballot.
  • As elected officials, we must think about all Burlington residents, with special consideration of those who are low income, older or living with a disability on a fixed income and the challenges that any additional taxes and fees put on their ability to make ends meet. A 2015 AARP-VT found that over half of Burlington residents age 45 and plus were ‘somewhat” or very concerned about being able to pay utility bills in the coming years. Similarly, in the statewide needs assessment of older Vermonters age 60+ conducted in 2017 by The Department of Aging and independent Living (DAIL), both housing and financial security rose to the top of respondents’ list of most pressing concerns, with people sharing responses, such as: “Taxes will make me leave when I retire;” “If all the taxes were less, I could afford to get what I needed on my own;” and “The taxes in this state kill the elderly more than the weather does.” Is there a different way to find the funds we need without overburdening the most vulnerable? We need to consider all the options, including how we move forward with the future of Memorial Auditorium.

I’m looking forward to connecting with you again soon via FPF with a few more updates before the next council meeting Monday, October 15th.

As always, thank you for your engagement and please reach out any time. And don’t forget to vote on November 6th!

Block Party - July 29th - Kanet Circle

Block Party: Sunday July 29th – Janet Circle

11:00am – 3:00pm

YOU are invited to the Block Party on Janet Circle. On the south side of Burlington’s New North End, Janet Circle is off James Ave. Which is off of Ethan Allen Parkway. We’ll have kids activities, a neighborhood music jam, food for everyone and more! If you can, please bring a dish or non-alcoholic drinks to enjoy. We have joined efforts to bring people together in the New North End. Join me, Council President Kurt Wright and Councilor Dave Hartnett for the first of hopefully annual block parties on Janet Circle.

For more information contact me at 318-2527.

Robert Miller Community and Recreation Center - Burlington, VT

Heatwave Cooling Station

With the coming heatwave, the City of Burlington has opened three Cooling Stations where people can come to cool down.

  • The Miller Center Community Room
  • Fletcher Free Library
  • The Burlington Police Department Community Room

Miller Center Hours

  • Sunday: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
  • Monday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm

I will be assisting with transportation on Sunday to and from the Miller Center for residents of the New North End. Please call me at 802-318-2527 if you are interested.

Did somebody say ICE CREAM?

Yes! I will be offering free ice cream from 1-2 on Sunday.

Ali Dieng speaking at TEDx Stowe

Ali Dieng Speaking at TEDx Stowe

UPDATE: The video is here

I am honored to be one of the speakers at this important event in Stowe. I am sorry to say it is SOLD OUT, but that reflects the commitment to community and thirst for knowledge that Vermonters maintain.

Check out the profiles of the speakers that will be hearing from.

About TEDx Stowe

TEDxStowe is a window into Vermont today. A rare opportunity to celebrate and connect with our Vermont community through big ideas. Some of the state’s most unique thinkers and inspiring storytellers will take to the stage to provoke conversations that matter. TEDxStowe is a place to learn about our neighbors and to celebrate those who are striving to innovate, to unite, and to lead in a variety of fields. It is also a moment to shed light on the challenges our communities face and investigate ways we can better pursue a common vision.